The Right Way of Snacking

Even when I was studying in secondary school all the way to postgraduate school, I was constantly snacking when I was studying in order to keep me awake. As I grew older (and hopefully wiser), I started to examine the snacks I was eating and I was mortified to say the least. I couldn't believe the junk I was putting into my body as my snacking regime consisted of potato chips, ben and jerrys, prawn crackers, chocolate bars, instant noodles, gummy sweets and so forth. Basically it was everything unhealthy that you could think of. I thank my lucky stars and my love for sports and dance in keeping my body the way it is now. Being a Physical Education teacher exposed me to eating the right type of food in order to maximise the use of our body to do the things we love. I could not get rid of the habit of snacking and thus, I set out to find another alternative. Contrary to popular belief, snacking can actually be beneficial to us, IF we snack on the correct food. Technically, there is no 'fat burning food' in the market, but there is a proper way of eating that optimises our body's potential. Protein coupled with exercise helps to build lean muscle, which in turn burns more calories and increases metabolic rate. Fibre aids in the digestion of food  I am now going to introduce 4 different food that we can be snacking on wherever we feel the itch to nibble. All these food are fuss free, with minimal preparation. 1. Almonds These odd-shaped nuts are filled with antioxidants (Vitamin E) and calcium. They are low in carbohydrates but high in fibre and protein. There are tons of benefits that come along with these wonderful nuts which you may have to read here (Benefits of Almonds). To name a few, they help to lower blood pressure, reduces hunger and reduces the risk of heart diseases. Studies have also shown that snacking on almonds may help decrease abdominal fat, an important risk factor for metabolic syndrome. 2. Greek Yoghurt (Berries optional) When I say yoghurt, it is likely that you will immediately think of llao llao and Milk and Honey. No no no! These yoghurt outlets serve you sugar coated with yoghurt. They are laden with sugar that even at times of eating it (yes I do indulge in them occasionally *), you cringe because it is just too sweet. I am talking about the plain Greek yoghurt that has a sour taste to it. If it is too sour for you, you could always throw in some blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. "Fat around your waist produces the hormone cortisol, which tells your body to accumulate even more belly flab," says nutrition professor and lead study author Michael Zemel, PhD. When we eat yogurt, the calcium signals your fat cells to pump out less cortisol, making it easier for you to drop pounds, while the amino acids help burn fat. Greek yoghurt is also rich in dietary protein which increases satiety and burns extra calories. 3. Edamame (Japanese Soybeans) Cute green beans that goes well sprinkled with a little organic salt. With its ability to promote fullness and cut down the intake of calories, it is a wonderful snack for you to snack on. Edamame also contains soy saponins which helps to keep the fat off. It also gives you beautiful skin and helps in bowel movement. Furthermore, it has a high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid, or AHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that your body can convert to EPA and DHA, compounds linked to lower blood cholesterol and a decreased risk of stroke and heart disease. (Health benefits of Edamame). 4. Apple with peanut butter I saved the best for the last! For fans of savoury and sweet like me, this will be the perfect snack to have. Slice apples and coat them with a layer of peanut butter. For peanut butter, be sure to choose natural over regular peanut butter as the latter contains additional sugar and oils. Peanuts are rich in unsaturated fat which helps the body to burn fat and build muscle. Remember what I said about muscle earlier? Muscles increase our metabolic rate and burns fats more efficiently.  Apples contain phytochemicals which lower risks of heart diseases, cancer, asthma and high cholesterol. So there you go! 4 simple snacks to be snacking on every time you feel your mouth itching for some food. Best of all, they need little preparation so you can just grab them off the shelves 🙂   nOM nOM Rachel Pan Yijun (Yoga TTC Weekend Class)